March 16, 1921 (13th Parliament, 5th Session)


Pierre-François Casgrain

Laurier Liberal

Mr. P. F. CASGRAIN (Charlevoix-Mont-morency) moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the Governor in Council should cancel the privileges extended to one W. H. Tapley of Montreal, under the provisions of the Ticket of Leave Act, and that he should be re-arrested and sent back to the penitentiary to finish the term of the sentence imposed upon him in the best interests of justice and the community.
He said: Mr. Speaker, last year, on the 5th of May I moved in this House a resolution calling for the production of copies of letters, telegrams, documents and correspondence in reference to the release from the penitentiary of one W. H. Tapley and one E. L. Baugh. At that time the hon. Minister of Justice (Mr. Doherty) replied in this way:
It is impossible to assent to the passing of this resolution. It is very well recognized in the House that correspondence with regard to applications for tickets of leave is of a confidential nature and is not to be brought down. There are numerous instances in which the matter has been brought up, and the last time I recollect its being discussed was in 1913, when the subject was discussed on both sides of the House, and when the late Right- Hon. Sir Wilfrid Laurier entirely concurred in the view that these papers were not of a. kind that ought to be ordered to be brought down.
The motion was dropped at that time. As you will see, Mr. Speaker, in a certain way I was balked and prevented from obtaining certain information under the assumption that this was the practice in years past. I have no intention of discussing the practice at that time. There may have been different circumstances, on account of which our late and revered leader thought that at that time, in 1913, it was not proper to put before the House certain correspondence in connection with release under the Ticket of Leave Act. If I present this resolution to-day, it is not that I have any ill-feeling or grudge or something personal against this Mr. Tapley of Montreal, and indeed, I might say that I have none against anyone. I am presenting this resolution in order to bring before the House the circumstances which at present obtain in regard to this matter. Mr. Tapley is very well known in the city of Montreal and the whole district as a usurer and money lender. For years past, before he was convicted and sent to the penitentiary, he was extorting money, against the law known as the Money Lenders' Act, from different persons at exorbitant rates of interest, running as high as 120 per cent, if not more in certain cases. What happened was this. One day in 1914, Mr. Tapley was arrested, and after trial before the Court of Kings bench, he was found guilty of rape and incest upon Lorita Tapley, his daughter, and he was sent to the penitentiary for a
term of thirty years, being sentenced by Judge Lavergne on March 25, 1914. Since that time, I might say that many people have been at peace and liberty in Montreal. Last year, however, about the month of February or March, this gentleman appeared in Montreal after having obtained his conditional release under the provisions of the Ticket of Leave Act. Since that time, he has endeavoured to revive all the old judgments standing in his favour against different persons in our city, and lately there appeared editorials in regard to the matter in the press, especially in the Montreal Star, which, by the way, is a good paper-sometimes I agree with it, and most of the-time I do not agree with it, but in this case, I think the campaign in that paper was a good one. In different editorials which appeared in the Montreal Star from the end of December to the middle of January, facts were presented to the public which I and some other people in Montreal though ought to be brought to the attention of the House. In the Montreal Star of 23rd December, 1920, the following heading appears:
Montreal shark puts the screws on.
And there follows a compendium of a judgment of the Circuit Court of the city and district of Montreal from which we see that this man, on a judgment for $20 obtained interest at the rate of 120 per cent per annum and five per cent per annum on $79.80. This case, I might say, was handled on behalf of the defendant by one of the friends of the Minister of Justice, Mr. Frank Curran, K.C., of the city of Montreal, who is one of the eminent members of our Bar. This gentleman proposes to discuss this case when it comes up in Court for trial and to try to have the provisions of the Money Lenders' Act applied in reducing the rate of interest charged by Mr. Tapley. Later, on the 3rd January, 1921, some more facts were brought out by the Montreal Star to the public at large under the heading-I will not read the whole article; I shall be satisfied with quoting the headlines:
Three more relate their experiences with Tapley-all cases based on ancient judgments and seek 120 per cent interest.
On January 4, 1921, other facts were brought to the knowledge of the public, one statement being that:
They had fallen behind in their rent and the landlord was already in Tapley's clutches. Cost them great deal to get out.
On January 5, 1921, this heading appeared:

When court was kind to Tapley he revived old game.
At the time Tapley came out, the civil authorities lifted the interdict which took away his civil rights, and he immediately started his old game and practice. On January^, 1921, we have another editorial in the Montreal Star dealing at length with the judgments he has, amounting to over $40,000 and it states:
All of them are alive and he may proceed to collect. Has been inactive for a week now. A typical Tapley move.
On January 11, 1921, we have an explanation of a case where a loan of $20 grew to $350 thanks to the ways and methods of Mr. Tapley in doing business with different people to whom he had lent money. On January 11 there is another article reporting an interview which a representative of the press had with Mr. Tapley, and in which he said that he did not care an iota-I will not use the other expression, which is more vulgar-for anybody or any court; that he would go on and do as he used to do before, and that he had, while working in a bank, learned how to gauge borrowers. I have received numerous letters from different people in Montreal who have been unfortunate enough to deal with this man. I had many cases to defend against this man a few years ago, and I had given an interview in a newspaper regarding this case. I received one letter which I think it might be of interest to read to the House because it deals with this matter and, in a certain way, with the popularity of certain members of the Government:
Montreal, January 17, 21.
P. F. Casgrain, K.C., M.P.,
Sir: C. J. Doherty-
I would like to put the prefix "Right Hon." but the letter does not bear it.
-C. J. Doherty arrived at G.T.R. station, morning, so popular that not a soul was there to meet him. This is the weakling you want to get after. Leave no stone unturned until
you make him tell how he let that

I will not use the qualifying expression.
Mr. Casgrain, you are the only man who has the courage in the House of Commons to make him answer you and the public. Every one of us owe you a debt of gratitude for the able way you are handling this case.- Keep right at it, Sir. Don't take no for an answer.
And the letter says:
Make this four-flusher answer you.
I will not say that.

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